At some point during your time as a Practice Owner, you or your partner may wish to invite additional dental practitioners or other dental professionals to join your practice. Associates are not employees, rather self-employed dentists working out of your practice, who make regular payments to the practice for utilising the premises, equipment and the employees.
The self-employed nature of associates can provide your practice or business with increased flexibility. Associates do not enjoy the same employment rights and protections as employees, for example rights to statutory sick or holiday pay, maternity or paternity leave. This distinction is just one of many reasons that emphasises the need to have a specific agreements in place to ensure there is no ambiguity.
Why have an Associate Agreement?
Often dental associates are taken on by partners without a formalised agreement in place. This can create many significant issues for your practice and your business arrangements with the associate. For example, you may want associates to perform their own proportion of units of dental activity (UDAs), you may wish to have a defective works retention in their agreement should they come to leave the practice.
Additionally, an associate agreement can contain provisions restricting their ability to work for competitors or in the local area. This is to ensure that they cannot set up next door if they leave and seek to take patients of your practice.
Essentially, a formalised Associate Agreement ensures that each party has their respective responsibilities and restrictions outlined from the beginning to try and avoid disputes later down the line.
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